R v. Elijah Douglas Shanoss

In Aboriginal Rights/Defences, Fish Cases on (Updated )

This case involved an aboriginal defence to a charge of selling salmon caught without a fishing licence. At the time the offence took place, the accused was a member of the Gixsan First Nation that had signed an Interim Fisheries Measures Agreement and a subsequent allocation agreement that, amongst other things provided that during the 1995 fishing season, the GWWA agrees only to fish for salmon in accordance with this Agreement, the Surplus Sockeye Licence, the Sockeye License, the Surplus Pink License, the Pink License, the Plan and other fishing licenses issued by the D.F.O. and the GWWA.

In finding that this agreement precluded the accused from asserting an aboriginal right to fish, the court rejected the following arguments:

1) The Agreement only applied to Gixsan people who chose to fish under the agreement; and

2) The provisions of the agreement saying it is without prejudice to the positions taken by parties with respect to aboriginal rights, allowed the accused to assert an aboriginal right.